The BugLady (who loves finding weevils) found this one in Ohio, but it does live here in God’s Country and throughout eastern North America. With about 83,000 species worldwide (3,000 in North America), the very-diverse weevil family, Curculionidae, is one of the largest animal (not just insect – animal!) families. Weevils can be recognized by their cute little snout (rostrum) and their “elbowed” antennae. Plant-chewing mouthparts are located at the end of the snout.
OK – it’s September, but the bug season isn’t over yet. Outside of wetlands, if there’s anything better than a walk on the prairie, surrounded by Big Bluestem grass, with big Common Green Darners and Black Saddlebags dragonflies overhead, the BugLady hasn’t found it yet. Here is another batch of summer images, mostly from prairies.
The BugLady had a wonderful Beetle Experience the other day. She was at Riveredge Nature Center, attempting to photograph some butterflies (a Common Wood Nymph and a few Viceroys) on a large cup-plant that had bloomed and was forming seeds when she noticed some drab, half-inch, hairy bees sitting on/in the flower heads. When she took a closer look (and some pictures, of course), she discovered that they were a flower scarab called the Bumble Flower Beetle.
Sometimes, the origins of insects’ names are pretty inscrutable, but not that of the Seven-spotted Ladybug. Its name does need a little unpacking, though – like the firefly/lightning bug, the ladybug/ladybird is a beetle (alternate name, lady beetle). The Lady in question is the Virgin, to whom the people in the Middle Ages prayed when aphids were devouring their crops, and who is said to have responded by sending this species of aphid-loving beetle.
The BugLady is spending as much time as she can in the field (and the rest of it editing pictures) because, you know, the Summer Solstice has passed, and a little wave of warblers moved through her yard the other day, and winter is coming. Many of these beauties have already starred in their own BOTW. In a nutshell – there’s a whole lot of romance in the air.
Meet another of the BugLady’s new neighbors, a handsome black beetle with red epaulets called the Red-shouldered Pine Borer. It came to her front door – well, actually, it was trapped in her front door, between the screen and the raised glass of the storm door, and its rescue involved dismantling the glass/screen assembly with one hand while holding a jar beneath the beetle with the other (empty flip-top Parmesan cheese containers make excellent bug jars). Five days later, it happened again, with the appearance of the red individual.
July is turning out to be Beetle Month, and here’s a beauty. It’s a Rove beetle, family Staphylinidae, a beetle family that rivals the weevils (and the Ichneumonid wasps) for the title of largest animal family (and scientists are still discovering new species). It will lose its place if a proposal to divide the Staphylinidae into four families gains traction.
Another week, another alien beetle eating an alien thistle. The BugLady found this pair of weevils while she was chasing Thistle tortoise beetles (clearly, it’s a weevil that gets a lot of mileage out of its food plant). And, in the “Ain’t the Internet Grand” category, a Google search for “weevil on thistle” resulted in a quick ID.
The BugLady was wandering the trails at Forest Beach Migratory Preserve recently when she spied a lovely green Thistle Tortoise Beetle on Canada thistle. Tortoise beetles have made previous BOTW appearances in the form of the Mottled tortoise beetle in 2014 and the Horsemint tortoise beetle in 2016. After she saw an adult, the BugLady started looking for larvae on some of the scruffier-looking plants.
OK – this is a love story of sorts. It’s an episode that originated in 2009, and it has already been rerun once and now rewritten again. But…..the BugLady just returned from southern Ohio, where she co-led a workshop about Bugs and Wonder (an unappreciated, sometimes suspect, and insufficiently-entertained state of mind) (and mostly we could say that about the bugs, too). We trawled the prairies and woods for bugs during the day, and at dusk and into the night, we hunted for fireflies.